Change your way of thinking

The Guardian displayed two stunning blue birds – Spix’s Macaws from Brazil – on its front page (5 September 2018) above the title, “Lost for ever.” The birds are among the species now extinct in the wild, one more indicator of the relentless advance of climate change due, in this case, to deforestation.

There are many more dramatic signs, such as the ice melting in the Arctic and the drying up of Lake Chad, but still people continue to exploit the earth, “our common home” (Pope Francis), seemingly regardless that they are destroying it.

‘Ephphata!’ Mark gives us the actual word of Jesus to the deaf and dumb man – ‘be opened’ – but he immediately orders the man to tell no one about it. We know that, for Jesus, his cures were not just to heal; they were signs with a meaning beyond the physical act of healing.  He knew people would stop at the cure and not look beyond.  So the solution was not to tell anyone until later when, as Mark sees it, after the passion they would understand.

Being open to the truth can require a kind of death; a death to my own prejudice.. I have to struggle to accept what I don’t want to hear but what I now know is true.  This is not easy.  We develop our ideas and can become set in them, comfortable in them.  We can be simply not open to other opinions.  This was the tragedy of Rhodesia and it became the tragedy of Zimbabwe.  Even today people are simply not open to ways of thinking that are contrary to their own.

So Jesus is saying to the formerly deaf and dumb man: “Don’t go round crowing that you have had your ears opened and your tongue loosened. That is not going to help anyone.  This is simply a sign that I have come to help people open their ears and witness to the truth with their words and lives.”  This is no simple matter: to change my way of thinking, to ‘convert’, takes a lot of courage and a lot of dying to self.

But Isaiah tell us it will happen and we will rejoice: “Then the ears of the deaf will be unsealed and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy, for water will gush in the dsesrt and steams in the wastelend.” We always need this perspective. The challenge is there but so is the joy for we will succeed.  This is the promise of the Messiah.

9 September 2018                             Sunday 23 B

Isaiah 35:4-7                           James 2:1-6                             Mark 7:31-37

As president, here’s what I want for Zimbabwe: a healthy opposition
Giving away the essence of Zimbabwe

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